Thursday, 26 February 2015

Us VS Them.

Peeps, I'm mad. I'm just going to get straight to it. 

If you happen to follow Taking Shape on Instagram, or Twitter, you probably saw the absolute clanger of a PR stunt, and the subsequent (and throughly deserved) follower shit storm that ensued. 

For those of you not in the loop allow me to fill you in.
TS saw it perfectly ok to build a "bird watching booth" outside London Fashion Week in order to do a bit of "skinny bird watching". The 'skinny birds' in question being the runway models. 

If you're anything like me you probably thought "what the [insert chosen expletive] is this?"

Well, for me, this is everything you do wrong in plus size PR. Where does one even begin?
Aside from it being incredibly dismissive to refer to women as "birds", it's body shaming and creating an "us vs them" mentality. Something we, as the fat community, are desperately trying to fight against.

I am not for a moment suggesting that this kind of body shaming is on par with what fat people experience. Not for a second. What I am saying is that, in order to be accepted as fat people, there needs to be a dissolution of a body ideal. Upholding one body type over another is simply the same fight, with thin taking fat's place. Simply put this crap needs to stop.

This othering of bodies, of objectifying women, is another battle we face. This kind of objectification is not "tongue- in-cheek" it's just an outright cheek. You're not being edgy by 'sticking it to the skinnies' and 'showing them how it feel's, all you're doing is playing into the hands of the same archetypal system that seeks to oppress.

Even sadder is, despite much criticism, there has been no apology. Not even an acknowledgement of the criticism. Nothing. Just carrying on as though nothing has happened.

I was due to attend a blogger party this weekend at a local TS store but I simply refuse to support a company that upholds these ideals. There are plenty of plus size brands out there who listen to customers, and have great relationships with bloggers, who are far more deserving of support and promotion. Let's start talking with our wallets and see if they start to listen.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cheap Chic at Peacocks

If you're anything like me and live in a small, crummy town with limited shopping options, sometimes you find yourself wandering around looking for inspiration to strike.

I found myself in my local Peacocks. I've shopped here many times in the past as a lot fo their items are stretchy and if you dig hard enough you find the odd size 24 hiding in the back of the rails. But you can't beat their prices for cheap, cheerful pieces from prints and patterns to essential basics.

I found myself in my local store sheltering from the wind and was surprised to stumble across some lovely statement handbags, namely this one:

A cute satchel bag in a lovely dusky pink colour. Ideal for accessorising with pretty spring florals. At £12 you cannot argue with that.

So I took to their website to see if they had anything else to offer and was pleasantly surprised to find a number of vintage inspired bits. Here are some of my faves:


Colour Flash Bar&Wing Tote Bag £16

Lock Front Grab Bag £15.00 now £7.50 (also available in black)

Cobalt Lock Shoulder Bag £15

Tall Metal Bar Hot Pink Tote Bag £20

Anything you like? Any you've found and loved?

Fuller Figure Filling The Gap: Lady Voluptous.

If you happened to be anywhere near social media on the fatshion sphere on Friday you probably heard that Lady Vintage were releasing their new collection, Lady Voluptuous, a dedicated plus size collection in partnership with blogger Georgina Horne of Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust.

Naturally there was a lot of buzz and many were excited following the announcement.  12pm hit and the website struggled to cope with the sudden influx of visitors, myself being one. There was a lot of heated conversation surrounding this and some mixed reactions and I wanted to touch upon some thoughts I had regarding the collection, and the issues surrounding it.

Lady Voluptuous, as I said, is a dedicated plus size collection. What makes it important is that unlike most plus size ranges it doesn’t stop at a 24. This range starts at a 16 and goes up to a 32. As Debz pointed out in her blog this is really important because for so long super-fats have been let out of the fat fashion conversation. This is something that I have been side-eyeing for a long time and a problem I have within the fatshion sphere. Unlike Kelly Osbourne’s collection, apparently for “every woman!” but stopping at a 24, this collection reaches into sizes that are continually neglected, and the fact that within HOURS, the biggest sizes were selling out if not already sold out.

This is a big deal. Pardon the pun.

Often when criticizing the sizing choices of many plus size ranges many times I am met with “at least it’s something!” to which I say “something for whom?”

Fat blogging, and specifically fat fashion blogging, became something of an interest for me because I found that taking an interest in what I wore felt like –for me- really liberating. Fat bodies are highly politicized, so even just by sharing how I looked that day was a political act. There were no bodies like mine in the media so we fats created our own spaces, our own fashion media. I will celebrate all shapes, sizes, and styles. I read blogs by all.
But now I’m starting to get a bit tired with constantly having to be excited about new ranges that time and time again leave me, and those bigger than me, out of the conversation. We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time. It’s obvious to me that there is certainly a market for this. Look at the H&M Tulle Skirt. Bloggers proved there was a hunger for on trend fashion in the plus size market because that piece sold out in a heartbeat.

This is why the Lady Voluptuous range is important. Particularly as, contrary to popular belief, good quality vintage reproduction in anything over a 24, or a “3XL” (which, lets’ face it is usually a 22) is really hard to find without sitting into the wee hours on eBay, and even then finding anything with exciting prints, colours, or cuts is still impossible. It reminds me of a recent post Bernie Dexter made on her Facebook commenting on people buying from companies that make knock-off dresses from designers. I personally commented and noted that when these designers start making them in my sizes then I might, but I don’t see why I should respect companies that refuse to acknowledge that fat people exist. While I didn’t read many of the comments, Bernie continually claimed that there was a lot of “negativity” around her post. This IS Facebook so I don’t doubt that people weren’t rude. But there were a lot of people making a lot of valid points. Why should we deny ourselves beautiful looking dresses because they are cheap or ‘knock off’? Often fat voices, when critiquiing anything like this, are seen as being negative. I mean, we should be happy that there's something, right?
I’m not here to trash Bernie. Not in the least. I understand completely where she is coming from, as someone who fully supports artists and understand that having your work copied or emulated is frustrating. I absolutely get it. But that is as far as my loyalty lies and until fat people are going to be considered when making these lines I shall continue to buy from those that stock my size. Regardless of where it comes from, simply because my choices as a size 26+ is SO limited. 
That's also not to say there aren't a lot of brands doing some amazing work on the plus size side. But is it wrong for me to want more for myself? Better quality? More variety?

Back to Lady Voluptuous.

As for the collection itself I’m a little disappointed. Owning a LV dress myself I know that they will be excellent quality. The dresses are all very beautiful.

So what’s the problem?

Well, if you look at the range of prints, colours, and styles etc in the LV range, then compare it to the plus sizes (even prior to the Lady Voluptuous range) there’s still a big gulf of what’s available. The Lady Voluptuous range has introduced a couple of new styles of dress, which is fantastic and they are lovely. But the collection is lacking in variety as far as prints go. But I get the impression this is not the last we will hear from this range so perhaps there may be more to come?

So what IS in the collection?

A lot of positives, for sure. Most notably, for me, the price. Often in plus size wear we are priced way, way up then straight sized lines. Even if it's from the same brand. But I was very pleased to see these dresses were priced the same. Between £40-£50 for a good quality repro piece, while not an everyday spend for many, is still certainly more reasonable +

Firstly the Medusa:

Lady Voluptous, Ruby Thunder, plus size

A figure hugging pencil dress that is very va-va voom! Not to mention in some unapologetic, bold colours as well as a racy leopard print. A deliberately figure hugging piece for super fats? Well go on then!

The Lyra

Lady Voluptous, Ruby Thunder, plus size

Another classic style, with a cross over bust and short sleeves that cover the top of the arm.

Lastly the Cosette

Not totally lacking in prints, these pieces are bright, bold, beautiful floral prints. 

Have you managed to get your mitts on one these? 

*Images kindly offered from Debz and Lady Vintage London

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Colour Pop

This post is an unexpected lesson in confidence. Sometimes you shine without intending to.
It's not secret that when it comes to fashion I'm about as lazy as it gets and having been off work for along time I've lived in my pajamas. Getting the motivation to get dressed and go out has been difficult. But challenge accepted and overcome the other day as I, unusually, put my hair up and slicked on some lippy before tottering out to run some errands.

Ruby Thunder, plus size

My trusty old coat. A love saga through the ages.

My outfit wasn't anything special. Comfortable and simple black and white, with a little colour pop from my trusty Doc Martens, I wasn't setting Vogue aquiver.

dress by asda, plus size, ruby thunder

Ruby Thunder, plus size

Leggings (as pants?! Heathen!) from Evans
Black and white striped dress from Asda (old)
Cherry patches added by me.
Boots-Doc Martens.

But for all it's comfort and simplicity I got numerous compliments from strangers while out. I hadn't really thought about it much but I think a lot of it is was down to the fact that I was just really feeling myself that day. I got ready and snapped a selfie for Instagram because why the hell not? The compliments and kind words sent me out with a skip in my step which seemed to carry with me for the rest of the day,

The power of kind words. 

So the next time someone rolls their eyes and decries selfies as 'vain' and 'shallow' just remember how good it feels to feel good, and how that goodness shines out. 

"Light attracts light. But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy." --Warsan Shire.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Slowly Springing

Now that I am closer to getting back to work I am lifting my window shopping ban. (It was for my own good.). I recieved an email from Lady Vintage annoucning their new spring range. Here are some pieces that caught my eye. You can find further details about these dresses below:

lady vintage dresseslady vintage dresses

lady vintage dresseslady vintage dresses

It's really unusual for me to like anything floral but I love the variety and the amazing choice of colours and patterns in this new collection. In this collection Lady Vintage are debuting their new styles the 'Eliza' and the 'Jasmine' as well as bringing back the 'Tea Dress'. 
I currently have my first Lady Vintage dress that I bought back in their sales to review so I won't go on too much about them right now but safe to say that I have found a vintage repro brand that I can actually access and is very much worth the money. That said, sadly, the new Spring range is not in my size range and seems to stop around a size 22 which is disappointing. Hopefully they will look to expand on that. 



Orange Floral 'Eliza' Swing Dress 8-18 £50

Black Floral 'Eliza' Swing Dress 8-18 £50

Pink Rose Floral on Black 'Jasmine' Dress 8-22 £50

Sweetheart 'Eliza' in Blue Swing Dress 8-18 £50

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Title schmitle.

Outing yourself as a feminist on social media often erupts a tsunami or eye-rolling from Facebook friends who hit the unfollow button faster than a speeding bullet. Coming into your own, politically speaking, can be a real eye-opening experience.
Facebook is a beast of its own and is quite unique in that, for some, there is a real sense of obligation to have people you can barely stand on your friends list, lest you look like some sort of mean bitch; the loathsome, boring co-worker, the cringe worthy family member, the old schoolmate who you barely spoke to back then and for some bizarre reason wants to add you some 10 years later. Luckily Facebook has a wonderful tool whereby you can hide these people from your feed and for some time you forget they actually exist until one fateful day they pop up on a status touting their less than desirable opinion on a controversial topic you have decided to share.

I’ve reached a point now, after a few online skirmishes and the words “man-hating feminazi” being thrown at me from former acquaintances that I’ve made a decision to cultivate my online spaces to incorporate only people I can actually be bothered to speak to. It’s not so much a question of people agreeing with me, far from it. I am always open to changing my opinion and I appreciate anyone who can present their argument in a thought-out way that gives me a new perspective. But I am loathed to deal with people who argue just for the sake of arguing.
So it’s always particularly jarring when I engage with friends on Facebook and their friends turn on you. It’s difficult because you want to tell them to go jump but you have to be respectful to your friend who, for some reason, keeps these people around.

I suppose the reason for this post is more for a show of solidarity to those who, for their own reasons, aren’t as ruthless as me when navigating their social media spaces. (I have dramatically culled family members when they have been less than thoughtful, no one is safe.) It’s difficult to be taken seriously when you are politically minded, and a strong minded woman at that. It’s difficult to express yourself politically without someone trying to undermine YOU, not your argument, because half the time they don’t actually get what you’re saying just that you have the audacity to say it. It’s difficult to not apologise for speaking out because we tend to start out sentences with “sorry but..”

The best thing I ever did was decided that I wasn’t going to let anybody undermine me. I wasn’t going to let anyone mock me. Bully me. Silence me.
I want you to challenge me. Support me. Inspire me. Enlighten me. 

But you will never bring me down.